Training to go out alone on trails?? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 61 Old 04-02-2010, 12:25 AM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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Training to go out alone on trails??

I've never taught a horse to go out on trails alone so I thought i'd ask
those who have.

Please dont say just get on and go, cause im not gonna lie.. I dont have the bravery to do that. LOL! Im to afraid of ANY horse, let alone Chance, thats not good alone on trails to take off throw me then run away and get hurt some how. Plus we are near roads unless you get to teh deeper trails and thats risky cause they go all around the town. Shes great when it comes to groups but I would like to go out on trails sometimes when people aren't around. You know?

I've been taking Chance on a lot of hand walks.
Would ground driving on trails help??? That way their in front and get to see things with out having the human check it out first??

Any ideas would be great. The weather is amazing here so I dont want to keep the poor girl in the arena alot, and since I've got to explore the trails on little last week and see how much there is to do out there, like jumping ditches and cantering up and down feilds etc.. I LOVE it.

Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 61 Old 04-02-2010, 12:31 AM
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I don't think you can teach a horse to go out alone, per se. I think good trail horses have a certain disposition, i.e. they're smart, independent, and willing. If they get buddy sour easily, need a lot of coaxing, or are slow to pick up on things, to me I wouldn't want it as a trail partner--but I'm a serious trail rider....for a once in awhile thing, I wouldn't be able to say for sure.

I'd think a good start would be to take her out on hand walks through the trails....its exercise for you, and you can familiarize her with the lay of the land, all of the funky sounds, low hanging branches, etc. As long as your trails aren't super woody and are clear from underbrush, I'd think ground driving her would also be fine.
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post #3 of 61 Old 04-02-2010, 12:51 AM
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my best advice is to put a halter on your horse and lead it out on a trail. might mean you have to do a lot of walking yourself but its the best way to find out how your horse will go by itself without being in the saddle. take her everywhere you would if you were going to go for a ride. it will give you the oppurtunity to see how she will react to things, what things will spook her and whether or not she is herd bound.

"I whisper but my horse doesnt listen...So I yell!!...He still doesnt listen"

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post #4 of 61 Old 04-02-2010, 01:11 AM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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I've taken her on many hand walk, but I dont think I've taken her to far from the barn to make her uncomfortable, so Ill give that a go possible tomorrow.

Chance is usually one of the best trail horses in our group, shes willing to try anything. She will stay back away from the group as well like wont be up another horses butt. But thats not garentee how she is alone.

Ill bring her out more away from the barn maybe even a walk down to the beach alone and see what happens. It include road crossings and such. Ill start ground driving her in teh arena and when she gets good at it we will take it to the trails!

I think it will be a lot of fun.
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post #5 of 61 Old 04-02-2010, 01:28 AM
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This is kind of a long story but bear with me and it might be worth it. Two years ago I rode in a clinic with the great Ray Hunt. In the colt starting class one of teh men was a very well thought of pro trainer riding a big bay mare for a client. Every time that mare would make a quick move he would suck down in his seat and grab for his coiled lariet that was tied to his saddle in preparation for the explosion that he thought would come. Ray kept telling him he was scaring the mare into blowing up and that if he didn't quit grabbing that rope he should take it off and throw it away. When the man quit expecting the blow up the mare got softer and quieter.

The moral of this saga is that if you act like there is something special about riding outside by yourself your going to get into trouble. Just go for a ride and see how she does you might be suprised.

There's nothing like the Rockies in the springtime... Nothing like the freedom in the air... And there ain't nothing better than draggin calves to the fire and there's nothing like the smell of burning hair. -Brenn Hill
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post #6 of 61 Old 04-02-2010, 02:06 AM
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I would first walk her and if she's calm get on and ride her. Of course near your barn and probably first for abot 10 or 15 minutes. If she's behaving good, you can increase that. If you can't handle it, you should get a confident rider to teach her.
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post #7 of 61 Old 04-02-2010, 03:51 AM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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Kevin I think that was a REALLY good point you made there. I know a month ago when I was always expecting her to take off on this on corner thats scary, I would tense and prepare for it.. which would make her want to take off cause she felt like there was somethin wrong.. now im like eh w/e.. if you spook, you spook... and not once did she even tense up or look at that scary corner. So Im thinking its the same thing like you said.

Shes a sensative little mare so its more about the rider then whats around her I believe.

I was thinking of starting to hand walk her, start letting her lead on trails, and if that goes well start her out alone.
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post #8 of 61 Old 04-02-2010, 04:24 AM
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I mostly trail ride by myself; so a horse that will hack out by itself is pretty much a requirement for me.

It is not, IMO, something you can train into a horse, or for that matter, a rider, if the necessary qualities are not already there.

The horse has to be a leader, or an alpha horse, not dependent, not barn bound or buddy sour. The correct type of horse is forward and easy to keep in front of your leg.

If you have a horse with these qualities, and you put a tentative or tense rider on it, who doesn't take the alpha role, who holds their breath or startles easily, they will eventually persuade the horse that those noises in the bushes are cougars ready to pounce.

Of my two current horses, the big chestnut gelding tends to be a little more mischievous and playful when out by himself, his natural smart aleck comes out, but he doesn't spook or shy and he's forward and relaxed.

The little bay gelding, the husband/guest/child horse, will go out alone but he doesn't like it. He won't put a foot wrong but he'll yell for his barn buddies and turn back any chance he gets. I would not ride him out by himself on a regular basis, on an occasional basis he does fine.

If your horse spooks, shies, props or is "looky" in the ring or when being ridden in a group, or if you're not a very secure, assertive rider, don't even try taking her out by herself.
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post #9 of 61 Old 04-02-2010, 04:45 AM
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I agree with Maura, in that there needs to be certain qualities present that you can't train in. In front of the leg is the biggest one I think - you can get through just about anything if your horse is in front of your leg.

If he has a lead horse, Bundy is about the best trail horse you can get. He'll go anywhere. He's the same by himself on the farm.

But off the farm, he's horrible. He's obedient, but he does that horrible tippy-toe trot, and spools at everything. So our trails by ourself are limited to PC and back unless we have to - it's no fun for either of us!

Whereas Wildey is awesome by himself - no different than he is with others.

I know you dont want to, but there really is no other way than just getting out there and trying.
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post #10 of 61 Old 04-02-2010, 08:02 AM
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I too think it is the rider who is afraid and puts the fear in the horse. I ride alone constantly, I am bold myself so the horse picks up on this and is bold in return.
If you are not afraid of any horse then you should be ok to just go out and ride.
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